Volcanic Ash, ICAO Has No Standards, No Answers of EU's African
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, April 21 -- The expectation was of volcanic ash when the two
heads of the International Civilian Aviation Organization arranged to
speak to the Press on Tuesday. They had come to the UN to meet with
Ban Ki-moon, amid ash-trigger flight cancellations which even killed
off the UN Security Council's long planned trip to the Congo to try
to save its peacekeeping mission.
Ban, they claimed that ash was not among the three main issues
discussed: climate change, security against terrorism, and the
reconstruction of Haiti.
asked, about criticism of ICAOs lack of leadership during the six
days of flight cancellations. It is up to member states to decide
when to close their air space, was the answer. But shouldn't ICAO
develop standards, for the effects of ash concentration? It is not
easy, the president off ICAO's Council Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez said.
asked about the decision by the European Union to block --
"blacklist" -- all aircraft from 13 African nations, as
well as about the U.S. decisions after the so-called Nigerian
UN's Ban and ICAO's Benjamin: it's all about the Benjamins
Benjamin, ICAO Secretary General, tried to
chide Inner City Press for mixing the two issues, and said that the
U.S. blockages have all been resolved. But what about the EU
two men insisted that their only focus was safety. But when Inner
City Press asked for their response to many letters asking that ICAO
let in Taiwan -- province of China! -- at least as an observer, given
the number of flights in and out of Taipei, they shook their heads.
So are the letters a waste of time? Yes they are, was the answer from
Raymond Benjamin, ICAO Secretary General. Video here.
Only at the UN. Leaving
the stakeout, one correspondent muttered, "What ashes."
* * *
Trip Canceled by UN Council, Volcano Leaves MONUC in Jeopardy
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, April 16 -- The UN Security Council's trip to
already shortened and devalued, has now been canceled in full,
Ambassador Gerard Araud told Inner City Press on Friday morning. The
rationale, he said, is the Iceland volcano which makes the Council's
flight to Paris and then Kinshasa unpredictable.
supposed to be for a week, Friday to Friday. Then once at least three
Permanent Five members including the U.S.'s Susan Rice said they were
not going, it was shortened to Friday to Tuesday, with side trips to
Rwanda and Uganda -- about the Lord's Resistance Army -- cut off.
Some said that was to lure Ms. Rice back onto the trip. But if so, it
delays spread after the volcano's eruption, the already embarrassing
trip has been canceled. One diplomat who had been slated to go told
Inner City Press, "This makes it more difficult to extend the
MONUC mission, we cannot convey the message to [DRC President Joseph]
Kumalo in Council in the past, contrarian position missed
perspective, as usual, South Africa's Dumisani Kumalo quipped to
Inner City Press, "Thank God they're not going to the Congo."
Kumalo, previously South Africa's Ambassador to the UN, now works on
Great Lakes issues. He is less than impressed with the Council's and
the West's work in the Congo. He told Inner City Press he had heard
of the Alan Doss nepotism scandal. Click here for
that. And watch this site.